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Schooner Jenny: Wikis


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The Jenny was a British schooner that reportedly became frozen in an ice-barrier of the Drake Passage in 1823, only to be rediscovered years later by a whaling ship, the bodies onboard being preserved by the Antarctic cold. The original report has been deemed "unsubstantiated"[1], but the story has become a fixture of Antarctic sea-lore, and inspired a noted Australian poem.

According to the account, the ghost ship was discovered by Captain Brighton of the whaler Hope on September 22, 1840, after having been locked in the ice for 17 years. The party that boarded the ship found the last log entry by the captain, which read:

May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days. I am the only one left alive.

The last port of call had been Lima, Peru. The cold had preserved the ship. The captain was found sitting in a chair with the pen still in his hand (exactly as in the Octavius legend). The Jenny had seven people aboard, including one woman, and a dog.

The crew of the Hope buried the bodies at sea, and Brighton passed the account on to the Admiralty in London.

The Jenny is commemorated by the Jenny Buttress, a feature on King George Island near Melville Peak, named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1960.[2]

Australian poet Rosemary Dobson wrote about the story in her poem "The Ship of Ice" published in her book The Ship of Ice with other poems in 1948, which won the Sydney Morning Herald award for poetry that year.[3] Dobson's poem places the discovery of the Jenny in 1860, adding 20 years to the period of entrapment.[1] The poem speaks of her as a "ship caught in a bottle / [....] / Becalmed in Time and sealed with a cork of ice".[1] According to Dobson, her source was the anonymous report The Drift of the Jenny, 1823-1840.[1]

Popular culture

This ship and its story is seemingly one of the inspirations for the setting events in Tardi's graphic novel, Le démon des glaces ("The Demon of Ice"), 1974. Set in 1889, a passenger carrying loafer named L'Anjou passing the Barents Sea has an (as it turns out) fatal encounter with a strange, ghostly ship which is somehow stranded on the top of a huge iceberg. The ship is called The Iceland Loafer, and when the crew of L´Anjou enters it by ascending the iceberg, the full crew of the loafer is found as mentioned above, including the captain in his cabin, mysteriously pointing in his frozen state to a certain point on his naval map (where they actually are). Immediately afterwards, their mother ship, L´Anjou is blown up in front of their eyes, and they're now stranded on the ghost ship... another inspiration could be the vessel Octavius or (less possible) the strange case of Mary Celeste.


  1. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Leane (2007). ""A Place of Ideals in Conflict": Images of Antarctica in Australian Literature". in C. A. Cranston, Robert Zeller. The Littoral Zone: Australian Contexts and Their Writers. Rodopi. ISBN 9042022183.  
  2. ^ "Jenny Buttress". Antarctic Gazetteer. Australian Antarctic Data Centre. Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  3. ^ "Papers of Rosemary Dobson". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2007-07-13.  

Further reading



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